Sunday 28 March 2021

Rediscovering of Rare Blue Bee in Florida in 2020 – Science 3

Bee swarm, just for illustration.

The blue bee was first noticed in Florida in 2011, then scientists identified its with scientific name as Osmia calaminthae.

However, the blue bee was disappeared in 2016. Many scientists believed that Osmia calaminthae was extincted.

Surprisingly, the blue bee was rediscovered in the same areas where its was gone.

This bee consumes pollen and nectar from a violet flower, well known as Ashe’s calamint or Ashe's savory.

The flower is a wild flower in Florida with a scientific name Calamintha ashei. Other species of Calamintha are:

- Calamintha georgiana, Georgia calamint

- Calamintha dentata, the toothed savory.

Unfortunately, Ashe’s calamint flower is a Florida endemic, and listed as threatened species of the state.

Flowers blooming, just for illustration

Yes, Osmia calaminthae is very extreme rare species, but genus Osmia has at least 350 different species which can be found worldwide.

Many of these 350 species are common species, to be critical role in natural pollination.

10 examples of species from genus Osmia are following:

- Osmia bicornis

- Osmia caerulescens

- Osmia cornifrons

- Osmia cornuta

- Osmia atriventris

- Osmia avosetta

- Osmia latreillei

- Osmia inermis

- Osmia lignaria

- Osmia ribifloris

Sources: Several readings include Smithsonian Magazine (2020) and CNN (2020).

Sunday 21 March 2021

How Many Animals Are Expected to Extinct by 2050? - Nature 4

A wild duck in the city lake

Based on my own experienced that the number of birds decreased dramatically in my backyard in the last 7 years.

We did not observe red belly woodpeckers at all in the last couple years. Other birds not seen or very rare to show up in our garden:

- blue jay

- Mourning dove

- Carolina wren

- Carolina chickadee

- Northern Mockingbird 

- American Crow

- other migratory birds

In fact, a scientist from UK as reported by Guardian (2004) and supported by the United Nation report (UN, 2019) estimated 1 million species will extinct by 2050.

Then, there are a lot of lists of animals will be disappeared in the very near future worldwide. 

A Canadian geese on the side of lake

Top 10 animals expected to extinct soon are (Newsweek, 2020):

- Sumatran Rhino

- Lange's Metalmark Butterfly

- Māui dolphin

- Red Wolf

- Kauai Akepa

- Chinese Pangolin

- Attwater's Prairie Chicken

- Florida Grasshopper Sparrow

- Vaquita

- Alabama Sturgeon

Who is the main actor as the greatest threat to survival of animals?

The absolute answer is human being!

What human being had done to contribute to lead to depletion of species? Here they are:

- pouching

- destruction of habitats

- burning fossil fuel which cause climate changes.

So sad!!

Saturday 6 March 2021

Paris in the Eyes of Vincent Van Gogh - Art 1

Street in Montmartre, Paris, Painted by Van Gogh (1887)

We might know that Vincent Van Gogh, a Dutch painter lived in several places in France:

- Auvers-sur-Oise
- Saint- Remy- de- Provence
- Arles
- Paris

Living in Paris was crucial for Van Gogh in respect to paintings, both number and quality of paintings.

Van Gogh produced about 224 painting during his two years, from March 1886 to February 1888, lived in Paris. Some of his paintings:

- Street in Montmartre, 1887
- Outskirt of Paris, 1886
- Vase with flowers, 1886
- View of Paris from near Montmartre, 1886
- View of the roof of Paris, 1886.

Outskirt of Paris, Painted by Van Gogh (1886).

One of his painting, Street in Montmartre, not shown for public since 1920, about 100 years.

This painting, then exhibited recently in cities of:

- London
- Amsterdam
- Paris

Some of us might wonder why Van Gogh has no paintings of Eiffel Tower? These following facts lead to answer:

- Van Gogh lived in Paris from March 1886 to February 1888
- Eiffel tower was built in 1887, and completed in 1889

Do you love Van Gogh’s paintings?


Saturday 27 February 2021

Snowy Owl Re-Appearing after Hiding for 130 years – Nature 3

Snowy owl is sitting on the hill (credit to Jamie Baker)

The snowy bird is coming from north part of the globe, the birds flew over the countries which close to their breeding of the Arctic Circle

This predator may be seen abundance about 20 to 30 years ago in the regions or countries such as:

- Russia
- Canada
- Iceland
- Denmark (Greenland)
- Sweden
- British Isles
- northern states of USA

Since the snowy birds can fly long distance about 7,000 miles (11,300 km), the bird could be observed in the southern states include:

- Texas
- Hawaii

Flowers in the city corner, just illustration

Unfortunately, once found easily, now very rare in many places. Even, no snowy owls for more than 100 years in certain areas.

The population was estimated 200,000 of snowy owl in 2013, but decreasing in great number to be 28,000 only in 2017.

Without doubt, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) list the snowy owl to be “vulnerable” species.

Vulnerable species means “A species considered to be facing a high risk of extinction in the wild.”

Several factors caused population decreasing:

- climate changes lead to snow melt, hence less preys availability.
- illegal hunting
- hitting power lines or vehicles

Just recently, many mainstream medias, not limited to USA Today, Yahoo News, New York Times and NBC news have been surprising with appearing of snowy owl in Central Park, New York after 130 years.

We don’t know the reasons yet!!

Snow owl video:

Tuesday 23 February 2021

Snow Storm in Our City Baton Rouge – Nature 2

Fig 01- Debris on the street

Like other part of USA, our city was hit by snow storm last Monday, 15 February 2021.

As one of cities in the southern state, Baton Rouge and many of my neighbors never experienced of:

- lower temperature of C minus 9 (-9 C) or equal to F 16 degree

- long freezing temperature almost one week, especially at night.

- ice rain

Current snow storm is the same with other storms in many case, but, since its contain snow, had specific negative impacts to our state and neighborhood.

Some of negative impacts:

- sleet has covered the entire street in several places

- debris everywhere

- trunks hit electric wires and poles

- thousands have no lights

- some of my neighbors have no water.

Fig 02- Tree fall down in our neighborhood.

After long freezing temperature, today, Sunday, 21 February 2021, the temperature was a quite warmer.

Fig 03- Icy in the yard

Temperature reached +15 C (F 59) degree. This is should be temperature in the normal Spring season.

Fig o4- Icy covered tree’s branches and chairs

Since temperature getting warmer and warmer, our neighbors start to clean up their own streets (in front of their houses) by:

- moving or blowing debris in the middle of street to the side of street.

- if debris are trees (trunks), must be cut into 6 feet lengths, and stack to the side of roads.

- trash and white goods must be separated.

In addition, residents who have old, poor condition and weaken trees should do the delimb or cut down the trees.

Hope, our neighborhood well prepare for future accidents due to future storms or hurricanes. 

Saturday 13 February 2021

Russian Covid 19 Vaccine Advantages – Science 2

Comparison of 4 different vaccines

The third clinical trials of Russian Covid 19 vaccine, Sputnik V has been published in the England medical journal, the Lancet (2021).

Sputnik effective rate is 92%, almost similar to American vaccines (Moderna and Biontech-Pfizer) which is 95%.

The advantages of Russian vaccine compared to American vaccines are following (in term of):

- price (about US$10 only)

- storage (able to be stored in regular fridge temperature)

Compared to UK’s vaccine, AstraZeneca, Sputnik V is clearly better in respect to effective rate.

If you read mainstream medias recently that South Africa government stop to conduct trials of AstraZeneca vaccine.

It is because the vaccine is not effective to control new strain from South Africa, called as 20H/ 501Y. V2 or B.1. 351.

Please read:

- Can Johnson & Johnson’s Vaccine Contains New Variants? - Virus 37.

However, the developer of Sputnik V believes that the vaccine works against Covid 19 new strains.

Whatever, people have plenty of choices, and hope, the vaccines are available in the market soon.

Wednesday 3 February 2021

A chocolate as a Gift for Valentine’s Day

Homemade chocolates covered strawberries

Plenty of gifts for valentine’s day is available in the market, from cheap to expensive ones.

Many people to choose chocolate as a gift for this special day with several reasons:

- tradition since old days

- symbol of love

- emotional reasons

- stimulate love

- to make connections with others

- promote spiritual wisdom

- reasonable price.

As we know, heart shape is the most popular for gift in valentine’s day, may be every where in this planet.

However, trending gift in our neighborhood is chocolates covered strawberries. Homemade chocolate by seasonal small business.

Colorful chocolate in the box

The price is a quite reasonable with almost a half price compared to market price with similar quality product.

We may wonder why are chocolates covered strawberries favorite for valentine’s day gift in my neighborhood recently?

The reasons are quite simple:

- perfect combination of chocolate and strawberry

- chocolate is a symbol of love, wisdom and relationship

- strawberry is refer to love of goddess, Venus.

Do you like chocolate and strawberry? Do you have specific gift for valentine’s day?

The Squirrel with two-toned fur - Nature 132

We have two previous postings about squirrels:  a little squirrel in her nest and four weeks old baby squirrel.  Image 01 - A squirrel with ...